A tough week for Corby Town was given another huge boost as they recorded an excellent 2-0 win over high-flying St Albans City at Steel Park.
Despite seeing a delay in their wages following the well-documented cashflow problems revealed earlier this week, the Steelmen players produced another excellent home display as they came out on top after a crazy second half that saw both goals and three red cards come in it.
Joint-boss Tommy Wright headed the hosts in front but Nathan Stanton was then sent off before veteran St Albans goalkeeper Paul Bastock also saw red.
Greg Mills scored from the resulting penalty but there was still time for Claudiu Hoban to be sent off for two bookable offences to round off a pulsating second period.
Unsurprisingly, joint-managers Andrew Wilson and Wright named an unchanged side after the fine 3-0 win over Bideford at the weekend.
And while the Steelmen had the better of things in the first half, their cause was not helped by the loss of both Courtney Herbert and Aman Verma to injuries as they were respectively replaced by Wright and the returning Stanton.
Claudiu Hoban was a real livewire for the hosts in the opening half and he dragged an early effort wide before Sam Corcoran sent a half-volley off target for the visitors, who were without the suspended 26-goal striker John Frendo.
Hoban headed wide for the Steelmen after a deep cross from Paul Malone and the visitors went close themselves when Danny Green dragged his shot wide of the post when he got a sight of goal.
But it was Corby who finished the half the better and Hoban forced Bastock into a decent stop before he was tested again when he turned Tom McGowan’s deflected strike round the post for a corner.
St Albans started the second half the brighter but it was the Steelmen who grabbed the lead on the hour.
And it couldn’t have been much simpler. Cleveland Taylor swung a corner in from the left and Wright showed more desire than anyone else as he powered his header home from close range.
But a potential game-changing moment arrived just nine minutes after the goal when the Steelmen were reduced to 10 men.
Stanton had already been booked early in the second half and referee Shaun Barry had little option but to show him a second yellow after he hauled down visiting substitute Chris Henry.
However, in a topsy-turvy period, the numbers were evened up just six minutes later.
Corby won a corner and while nothing came of it, a clash between Bastock and Mills left the Corby man in a heap in the six-yard box.
Mr Barry was in no doubt that Bastock had offended and immediately showed red. With St Albans having already made all three substitutions, centre-half James Kaloczi was forced to go between the sticks.
And he was soon picking the ball out of the net as Mills picked himself up to score from the resulting penalty.
It looked like being straightforward for the Steelmen from there. And, after Henry had gone close for the visitors, Hoban thundered a shot off the post before Kaloczi saved well from Mills.
But a straightforward task soon became slightly harder for the hosts when they were reduced to nine men for the final six minutes.
Hoban went down under a challenge in the area, it was a clear dive. And, having been booked earlier for kicking the ball away, he became the third player to see red. That one was soft.
But there weren’t many scares for the Steelmen as Paul Walker snuffed out an attempt from Henry late on and that was as close as the visitors came.
After a week that has had more than its share of dark moments, the Corby players and managers could again be proud as they made it back-to-back wins at home against teams above them.
The play-offs may have seemed a long way off not that long ago. Now, there may be an opening, especially given the Steelmen’s current form.
Let’s all hope the off-field problems don’t overshadow the good things happening on it.
Steelmen: Walker; Thomas, Malone, Carruthers, Jelleyman; McGowan, Verma (sub Stanton 40 mins); Hoban, Mills (sub May, 85 mins), Taylor; Herbert (sub Wright, 26 mins). Subs not used: Carpenter, Wilson.
St Albans: Bastock; Gilbert, Ward, Kaloczi, Chappell; Hall (sub Comley, 52 mins), Marwa, Corcoran (sub Henry, 65 mins), Green; Bailey, Dean (sub Nwokeji, 57 mins). Subs not used: Taylor, Graham.
Referee: Shaun Barry.
Goals: Wright (60 mins, 1-0), Mills pen (77 mins, 2-0).
Bookings: Marwa, Stanton (all fouls), Hoban (kicking ball away).
Sendings-off: Stanton (second bookable offence), Bastock (violent conduct), Hoban (second bookable offence).